Are you missing your workmates and the water cooler talk? As professionals have moved to remote work this year, many have realized that one of the things they most enjoy about their job is the people they work with. Some professionals do enjoy working alone but if you are a professional that loves to be around people, working remotely can feel isolating, leading to burnout and frustration. 

Staying connected with your coworkers is a great way to stay productive from home. While working with co-workers virtually is different, the good news is there are still a lot of ways to maintain those relationships. It just requires taking a little more initiative. Here are some ideas to try: 

Plan a weekly coffee break. Reach out to your team or your closest co-workers about scheduling a weekly coffee break. This would be a 10-15 minute Zoom call to do what you would normally do on your break: drink coffee, catch up on the latest news, and have a snack. Zoom meetings can feel intimidating to some, even when they are informal, so try to have a few topics or questions planned in advance to help break the ice and keep the conversation moving. Avoid any awkward or controversial topics, keep it light so that everyone feels refreshed

Send something in the mail. Sending something in the mail is a small but touching way to maintain your work relationships. Did a co-worker just have a work anniversary that you saw on LinkedIn? Send them a hand-written card and flowers. Did they mention another life achievement in a post? Send a small gift. Your co-worker will appreciate this token of thought from you, perhaps more than you will know. 

Call a co-worker on break. For a more one-on-one connection, consider picking up the phone and making a real phone call to one of your co-workers during your lunch break. It may be helpful to reach out via email or text to see if they are available for a few minutes beforehand. Keep the conversation on the shorter side but have something meaningful to say.

Share something with them through email. Did you see a funny video or a timely article that would speak to one of your co-workers? Send it to them in an email with a short note about why this made you think of them. 

Small details mean more than ever during this time. Take the initiative to maintain your work relationships and even though you are remote, you may end up feeling closer than you did when you worked in the same office.

If you, unfortunately, feel like your work has changed enough that you’re unsure if it’s sustainable in the long run, we get it and we can help.